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Barman: I thought lethal cocktail would be shared

Two barmen charged with the unlawful death of a customer who died from alcohol poisoning told gardai that they would not have served him a final cocktail of shots if they had known he was going to drink it by himself.

The prosecution case against Gary Wright (34) and Aidan Dalton ( 28), who pleaded not guilty to the manslaughter of Graham Parish at Hayes Hotel in July 2008, concluded in Nenagh Circuit Criminal Court yesterday.

The jury heard statements provided to gardai by the accused men — both with addresses in Borrisleigh, Co Tipperary — after the death of the father-of-two, who died hours after celebrating his 26th birthday in the Thurles hotel with five work colleagues.

In a statement, Mr Dalton admitted to officers that he had served the final drink to Mr Parish after being permitted to do so by his bar manager, Mr Wright.

Mr Dalton told gardai that there was Baileys, Southern Comfort, Jack Daniels and gin in the glass and that Mr Parish's friends were betting him to drink it.

The barman said the victim was “fully aware” of its contents.

The court heard Mr Dalton had worked in bars for nearly 10 years prior to that and he had not served a drink like that previously.

“I asked Gary as I didn't think you could serve more than a triple,” he said.

He told gardai he did not think Mr Parish was going to down the shots in one go and believed the drink was to be shared. “If I ever realised he was going to slam it, I wouldn't have served it,” Mr Dalton said.

He added that he had never been trained on how to dispense spirits and was just shown how to pull a pint: “And there you are, you are a barman.”

In his statement to gardai, Mr Wright said he put a double vodka into the victim's pint around 10.30pm as requested by his friends. He admitted that he was “a bit iffy about it”, but said he “didn't see the badness in it”. He said Mr Dalton gave Mr Parish another drink with three shots in it — a vodka, a Jagermeister and something else.

He said he observed Mr Parish when Mr Dalton asked him was it OK to put 10 shots into a glass.

“He had eight pints and five shots at this stage,” Mr Wright told officers. “I didn't see the danger in giving him the shots.”

Mr Parish downed the drink and later collapsed and was brought upstairs.

Till receipts showed that eight measures of gin or vodka were purchased in one transaction before the bar closed. There was no transaction to reflect that a triple or double spirit measure was bought prior to this.

The case continues.

Belfast Telegraph